Looking for a relaxing beach getaway in a beautiful spot with a laid-back vibe, classic southern charm and nine miles of beautiful beaches? North Myrtle Beach along the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina fits the bill in every respect.
Located along the 60-mile stretch of Atlantic beaches known as the Grand Strand, North Myrtle Beach is an ideal summertime road trip destination. Less crowded than other spots along the Grand Strand, this beachside destination offers seashell-peppered beaches, seaside villages lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars; lively family attractions; iconic golf courses; fish-packed waters and exhilarating water sport options.
One of the best ways to explore this quaint community is by visiting the distinctive communities. Start your trip in character-rich Cherry Grove, then head south through Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach and Windy Hill. Each community offers its own unique set of stops, here are some of the best.
Southern Charm and Watersports in Cherry Grove
With broad porches, wide beaches and a pier that seems made for trophy catches, Cherry Grove exudes a warm and welcoming southern atmosphere. Charming beach houses and condos add to the relaxed atmosphere and the lovely beach here offers stellar views and lots of fun in the sun.
Kayak Marsh Maze Cherry Grove
Beach days are wonderful, but for a very different kind of water adventure, paddle through the serene, hidden creeks of the Cherry Grove salt marshes on a kayak or paddleboard. You can rent equipment from a local outfitter and explore on your own (the waters are well-suited to all skill levels), or take a two-hour tour with a professional guide. You’ll not only learn all about the ecology of the area, but also get a chance to see native wildlife up close.
Cherry Grove Park is a popular fishing spot that provides boat access to the marsh and access to Heritage Shores Nature Preserve, an island preserve that extends into the marsh with seven miles of walking trails and abundant wildlife, from shore birds and white tail deer to red foxes and raccoons. Find the boat launch and parking at 413 53rd Avenue N.
Settle into the Sands at Cherry Grove Beach
This free beach will own your heart. Sunbathe, beach comb, frolic in the waves. The beach is accessible from any number of spots, but if you’re parking, the best access points are the walkway between Sea Pointe and Sea Marsh II and across the street from Ocean View Villas at the beach’s northern end.
Explore Waites Island, a 1,062-acre undeveloped barrier island located just across the inlet from Cherry Grove Beach on a guided kayak tour. And if you love horseback riding on a pristine beach, take one of Inlet Point Plantation’s oceanfront rides. 5800 Little River Neck Rd.
Catch a Big One at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
A Cherry Grove favorite, this approximately 1,000-foot-long pier built in the 1950s is the center of activity in Cherry Grove. It’s a popular local fishing spot and if you’d like to cast a line, turn to the tackle, bait and gift shop at the pier for great fishing tips and bait, snacks, souvenirs and more. You’ll find a parking lot north of the Pier and additional parking at the public parking area (the 7th and 8th tower floors).
Take a Swing at Family Fun at Black Pearl Mini Golf
This 18-hole pirate-themed mini golf course and arcade located near Cherry Grove gives kids and kids-at-heart a great break from water-based activities. And it’s not just the games and joy of competition that’ll grip them, the sweet treats will too. Between games, head to the Lollipops Candy Shop (over 1,000 candies await your selection) and Mermaid’s Dream Ice Cream shop, offering 48 ice cream flavors. Sit in the shade on the patio and indulge away.
Enjoy Thrilling Water Escapades at Shark Wake Park
Leave the beach and head inland for man made water activity at Shark Wake Park. You’ll be putting all kinds of personal skills to the test in the most fun of ways — with their cable wakeboarding and kneeboarding facilities, and a massive floating obstacle course with monkey bars, slides and climbing towers. TBH, It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or a beginner — this two-parks-in-one family haven provides endless fun for all. And if the activity whets your appetite, the two-story Shark Shack will help you curb it.
Experience North Myrtle Beach’s Pulsing Heart in Ocean Drive
Ocean Drive is where the Shag dance – a partner dance similar to swing – was born in the early 1940s, and it’s still a hot spot for Shag dance competitions. Participating dancers show off exciting moves, and the local attractions radiate equally vibrant energy. Visit Main Street for great food (seafood, of course, is a specialty), shopping and entertainment.
Dive into a World of Fun on Ocean Drive Beach
On this beach, you’ll take in great ocean views (come at dawn for incredible sunrises) and experience waves that’ll give you the impression that you’ve landed on the ultimate watery playground. Local vendors offer the chance to slice across the water on a jet ski, rip across breaking waves on a surfboard or drift above it all on a parasail. But don’t forget to hit the OD Pavilion, too. The shag dancing, live music and amusement park rides are a blast to the past.
A Treasure Trove of Fun Awaits on Main Street
Main Street, Ocean Drive is your charm-and-nostalgia-filled food, drink and events spot when visiting North Myrtle Beach. Country Living magazine named this one-mile stretch one of the best small town main streets in America a few years back and touted its dining spots as well as the bandshell where Music on Main concerts take place. Intersperse beach time with refueling stops at yummy dining spots like Duffy Street Seafood Shack, Hoskins Restaurant and Flynn’s Irish Tavern. Celebrate each day with tasty drinks and lively music at Deckerz or OD Arcade & Lounge. And visit the home of the shag, Fat Harold’s Beach Club, to boogie, dine and sip the night away. You can also find great mementos of your trip at the local souvenir shops. Find free parking where Main Street meets Ocean Drive, and just off Main Street, check for availability on 1st Avenue (North and South) or anywhere from 3rd through 10th Avenues (North).
Melt Delivers Pure Sweetness
Craving a treat? Melt is one place on Main Street you won’t want to miss. Order a heaping cup or cone of homemade artisanal ice cream at this blue-and-white family-owned ice cream shop to sweeten your day. They constantly rotate the flavors (all made with fresh ingredients), which gives you every reason to come back repeatedly.
Relax Away from the Beach at La Belle Amie Vineyard
La Belle Amie Vineyard is a family operation where the art of winemaking was brought over from the south of France and lovingly carried on for generations. A few of the vines on the property are over 100 years old and used to make grape preserves sold at the shop. Visit this vineyard and get a guided tour of the operations and the lovely, park-like grounds; taste and purchase their signature Twisted Sister wines; shop for wine accessories and gifts; and attend the Saturday live concerts.
Chill and Romp on Family-Friendly Crescent Beach
Located just five minutes south of Ocean Drive, sweeping family-oriented Crescent Beach invites shell hunters, sandcastle builders and boogie board and banana boat riders to relish its sands and surf. You’re not likely to find crushing crowds here but will definitely find broad expanses of clean, silky sand and knockout ocean views.
This community is all about the beach with plenty of accommodations within walking distance of the shore. And the quiet neighborhood vibe makes for a laid-back getaway if you choose to stay. Have a furry friend? They can enjoy the beach too! Dogs are allowed on Crescent Beach before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Free parking at S. Ocean Blvd. and 17th Ave. S
Explore Waterways, Shop & Lounge in Windy Hill
This community lies at the southern tip of North Myrtle Beach and provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway — a great area to engage in exciting water sports. But there’s so much more in Windy Hill. Visit the family-friendly attractions and shops, listen to soul-stirring blues music and sample mouthwatering foods and wines.
Cruise the Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway, which runs parallel to the Atlantic coastline a mile or so inland, is rich in natural vistas and wildlife (expect sightings of osprey, heron, ducks, egrets, turtles and alligators) and a great place to explore by boat on your own (rentals are available) or on a guided waterway tour by jet ski. And when you’re ready to give your sea legs a rest, consider visiting the restaurants and shops at Barefoot Landing.
It’s All in the Bag at Barefoot Landing
Set along the Intracoastal Waterway and a 27-acre lake, Barefoot Landing offers up great scenic beauty. But taking in lovely views as you walk around is only the beginning of what you can do at this coastal family destination. With live music performances at the Dockside Village Amphitheater, various eateries (e.g., Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Taco Mundo Kitchen y Cantina, Greg Norman Australian Grille and the soulful House of Blues); some of the area’s best shopping at both national retail stores and specialty boutiques; live theater at Alabama Theatre; and a host of fun events, Barefoot Landing is truly a one-stop spot for all your favorite land-based vacation activities.
Stay and Play at Barefoot Resort & Golf
Barefoot Resort & Golf offers lodging at four different locations, but the on-site Golf Course and Yacht Club Villas capture the essence of the play opportunities available here — both water- and greens-based ones. Four unique and captivating golf courses designed by hall of fame players and architects challenge players of every skill level, balancing fun with intrigue. Take advantage of special Stay and Play packages to make the most of the resort.
Win Big at Lulu’s Beach Arcade
Lulu’s Beach Arcade is kid heaven, but grownups will have a great time playing the state-of-the art games here, too. Everyone is rewarded with high ticket payouts that can then be exchanged for great prizes. And for the more adventurous, the ropes course with views of the water is a fun challenge.
Forget all Your Cares at Cinzia Spa
Given all the exciting things there are to do in North Myrtle Beach, you might be tempted to overlook a critical aspect of any vacation — deep rest and relaxation. Cinzia Spa will give you all-important “me” time in the most indulgent and pampering of ways. Book a massage, wrap or other amazing body treatment and bliss out.
Windy Hill Beach
On this quiet, ultra-clean, gently sloping beach, soak up some rays, comb the powdery sands for shells and let the young ones splash in the tidal pools that form at low tide. Though it may be tough to leave your beach chairs and towels, there are other fun ways to experience Windy Hill Beach (and also scope out your personal spots on the sand). Try riding a beach bike or golf cart, rentals are available at Trailblaze Adventure.
Raise a Glass at Duplin Winery
Raise a toast at rustic Duplin Winery. This winery offers tastings of a minimum of 10 preselected wines and a variety of white, red, blush and specialty wines for purchase. You’ll also find pantry items like dressings, dips and marinades as well as apparel, jewelry and home gifts.
North Myrtle Beach is open and all of the beaches are ready to welcome visitors. Masks are encouraged but not required, although individual businesses may require patrons to wear a mask. Read more about North Myrtle Beach’s healthy traveling resources here. Check with individual businesses for operating hours.